After weeks of outcry from the Indian-American community, the New England Brewing Company, makers of a best-selling craft beer named “Gandhi-bot,” has agreed to change the brew's name, a Connecticut state legislator told NBC News.
“They’ve given us a timeline of two to three months by which time everything will be complete,” said Prasad Srinivasan, after a meeting with the company last week. “They’ve already apologized and now they will change the name. That sounds reasonable to me.”
New England Brewing Company’s issued a statement on Thursday about the meeting. “After careful consideration we feel that renaming Gandhi-Bot is the right move (the beer will remain the same),” the release stated. “We have begun the process of renaming and rebranding this beer which may take up to three months. Taking these steps will allow us to express our support for the Indian-American community while also limiting any economic losses.”
“This is exactly what we wanted,” said Srinivasan, who described the meeting with the owners of the brewery as congenial. But he added the owners were still concerned about the status of legal filings in India over the use of the Gandhi name, as a violation of India's "Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act," a 1971 law, amended in 2005, threatening punishment for anyone who "shows disrespect to or brings into contempt...the Indian National Flag or the Constitution of India."
“I told them I had no idea,” said Srinivasan.
Controversy over the beer name began last month when the Indian-American community, through social media, called into question the Brewery’s use of the Gandhi name on a beer label. Gandhi, considered both a national and religious leader, was against the consumption of alcohol.